T Nation

Started BBB


I just started 531 with the boring but big template today and I was wondering if I have too much assistance volume, or any other advice for that matter.

Monday: press 5/3/1, bench 5x10, dips 3x10, also I SS the 5/3/1 work with one set of pull-ups and chin ups(alternating each set) sets of 10, then a set of 5 between the dips
Wednesday:DL 5/3/1, squat 5x10, shrugs 3x10/SS with 3x10 back extensions
Friday: bench 5/3/1, press 5x10, 3x10 db rows OR high rep Kroc rows, again SS 5/3/1 with pull ups and chin ups
Saturday: squat 5/3/1, DL 5x10, leg press 3x10, SS squats with pull ups and Chin ups( sets of 10)

Any advice is appreciated


I wouldn't superset anything yet. As long as you can recover from it, the assistance looks ok.


I don't know why you feel you need additional pressing and leg work after the 5x10 stuff. The whole idea of that template is that the 5x10 stuff is so much volume at a decently heavy weight that you won't need anything else.

I would suggest you run it as written (other than the chins between sets of pressing, you can keep that):

Bench 5/3/1
Press 5x10
Chins or Rows 5x10

Squat 5/3/1
Deadlift 5x10
Ab work 3-5x10

Press 5/3/1
Bench 5x10
Chins or Rows 5x10

Deadlift 5/3/1
Squat 5x10
Ab work 3-5x10


I'm planning on starting this today and I'm just going to eat a ton


So instead of leg press, do ab work? And leave everything else the same, how about that? Also, I didn't want to do pull ups on 531 DL day because that might be too hard on the back, any input on that?


My recommendation would be to run it as written for at least 6 months (the only exception to this would be if you added a few sets of facepulls, rear delt work, or rotator cuff work, but only with discretion). If you feel like anything is lacking after that, then you can make SMALL tweaks to the program, for example adding in a few sets of curls, or leg curls, or rows, etc. to address weak points.


When you say as written what do you mean exactly? Because he gives an example in the book, but the only thing really set in stone is the 531 work. He gives examples you can use for assistance, and even says you can use similar lifts to the main ones for BBB, so what are you referring to when you say how it's written?


I would have to agree with running it as written.

If you have energy for more leg work after 5x10 squats or deadlifts...then you must be doing something wrong.

You can

1) do a variant of the squat and deads to make it harder: Olympic style back squats..or the opposite style of deadlift for example

2) Wave the percentage of the 5x10 work...ie 50% week 1...55% week 2, 60% week 3.

3) Do abs. Hell, do your 5x10 work for squats and deads beltless.

4) You shouldnt need much for upper body after 5x10 bench, close grip or incline. Switch the grips on each set...is an idea. Add chains is another idea.

FWIW, I do some lateral raises and curls after my 5x10 press and rows. thats it.


I do 5/3/1 boring but big and add more assistance work to it as well. I would SS chins/pullups on press/bench days, but only on the BBB work, not the main sets. Other than the main work and BBB: Squat day: leg ext, leg curls, barbell curls; Press day: Kroc Rows, dips, lat raises; Deadlift day: banded trunk ext, ab work, db curls; Bench Day: barbell rows, chest flies, tricep work.

I don't get too crazy on the assistance work weights, just depends on how much gas I have left in the tank.

I'll also do rotator cuff work on upper days, but that's just maintenance.


Ok, so how about on squat and DL days one assistance move for abs. And on up body days: do the 5/3/1 work then superset the BBB with chins and pull-ups then based on the 3 month challenge Jim says you could pick another 1-3 exercises. Would dips and possibly face pulls work for this, or maybe just dips?


I wouldn't recommend doing dips for the 3-month challenge--doing 5x10 at 70% for both benching and pressing is probably going to be enough. If anything just facepulls.


Do you think dips would keep the chest and triceps from properly recovering?


You could try and see , as long as you can recover enough to have.have a good training session next time your lift then I don't see a problem. Also are you using 70% as 5x10?


I finished 11 cycles and then reset/started over just a short few weeks ago. Just starting cycle 2 of my new training set.. modified assistance work etc..

That said.. I do the 531 +BBB and some assistance, not tons and truth be told the weight I am throwing around after Deads / Squats is low. I am pretty freaking dead after the 5*10s... but I do keep it challenging :slight_smile:

I ramp the BBB %.. starting at 50% and I end up staying at 60-65% depending on the exercise.

Deloads every other cycle.

Deadlift day:
5*10 deads (defecit)
4*10 BB rows
4*10 Lat pulls
Bicep work

OHP Day:
5*10 OHP
Upright rows

Squat Day:
5*10 Squat
Hip Thrusts
Walking DB Lunge Things
Calf work

BP Day:
5*10 BP
DB flies to wrap up the day




If you go too heavy too soon on them, yes. Like I said, try running a few cycles and see how it works for you without doing dips or anything other than the program has you doing. If it's not enough, then you CAN add in a few sets of dips a week, probably just bodyweight for at least one cycle, and auto-regulate from there. Doing it as written has you doing a minimum of 120 reps of pressing each week as is, so chances are that will be enough for at least a while. Remember, 5/3/1 is intended to be a relatively long-term program, not some quick-fix.


That's a good point about it being long term, so how I know if its not enough without dips?


So today I did 531 DL and 5x10 squats, that was pretty tough so just did a little ab work. Now I know I won't be able to do much of anything else on the lower body days


After a few cycles of BBB you'll get a good feel for it and get somewhat of an understanding of what you can handle, just like any routine. If by that point it's obvious BBB is working well, then there's nothing to fix. If it's falling short because of too much/ too little pressing volume, then you'll need to adjust for that. Auto-regulation!


I'm not an expert, but I've eliminated all assistance work from the 5/3/1, except for pullups, pushups and dips. For example; for squat I do a day of 5/3/1, with the beyond 5/3/1 template and work up to a heavy single. On the second day of the week for squat I do a 5x5 workout. I have a heavy and light day for bench and squat and a day for deadlift. Over the last 6 months, it has been an eye opening experience if you put all your energy form working out into working these three main lifts.